Nia fitness craze combines dance, martial arts and yoga

READY: Nia dance technique teacher Ildika Koppen is encouraging people to sign up for classes, which combine dance, martial arts and yoga.
READY: Nia dance technique teacher Ildika Koppen is encouraging people to sign up for classes, which combine dance, martial arts and yoga. David Nielsen

CAN'T decide whether to take up martial arts, dance or yoga?

Well, why not all of them at once?

A fitness class that combines all three disciplines is going strong in Ipswich, thanks to instructor Ildika Koppen.

The practice is called Nia and it's the latest fitness craze to sweep through Australia.

Each one-hour class offers a unique combination of 52 moves, taking inspiration from tai chi, tae kwon do, aikido, jazz dance, modern dance, duncan dance and yoga.

Those who have taken it up have said they have experienced less stress, alleviation of particular physical aches and a sense of overall well-being.

Ms Koppen said she first heard about Nia through a friend three years ago and immediately became a fan.

"I was studying for my masters in teacher librarianship when I started (Nia) and it was a great release for me," she said.

"It calms the mind, keeps you fit and is a wonderful fusion of mind, body and spirit."

The classes are taken barefoot to a music mix that encompasses many different styles including electronica, reggae, jazz and hip hop.

Ms Koppen said Nia originated in the US 30 years ago.

It has since expanded significantly and is now practised in more than 40 countries.

"It has reached Australia and has definitely caught on here," she said.

"There is a big Nia community in Brisbane and I'm looking to building one in Ipswich."

The next 10-week round of Nia classes will begin on July 18 at The Old Courthouse on the corner of East and Roderick Sts.

Classes will be held each Thursday from 6pm-7pm at a cost of $10-15 per class.

For more information or to book a place phone Ms Koppen on 0422 870 227.

Topics:  dance, fitness class, ildika koppen, martial arts, nia dance technique, yoga



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